The punditocracy seems split over the deal Barack Obama struck yesterday regarding the Bush Tax Cuts. On the one hand, he sold his liberal base down the river. On the other hand he acknowledged that elections matter and showed good faith negotiation with the GOP. Heck, just on one network alone you could get whiplash watching the pundit ball bounce back and forth from Ed Schulz blowing a gasket to Lawrence O’Donnell thinking this is business as usual, to Joe Scarborough putting on his “political analyst” hat and screaming foul. Joe’s position was particularly perplexing in that as a conservative he favors lower taxes but felt Obama made a very bad move politically.
For me, it is just more evidence, in a growing dossier, that Obama has no core. He is first and foremost a politician and his favorite political strategy is reconciliation. Progressives are upset that he didn’t even attempt to put on a good fight to keep the rich from maintaining their tax cut. But where is the surprise here? Apart from fiery rhetoric, when has Obama fought for anything in the past 22 months? Health care? Nope, sorry no fight there. Yes it was a bit of a struggle to get what little we got, but oh we got so little. A real mess of legislation, most of which doesn’t even see the light of day until 2014.
Obama’s unwillingness to put the GOP up against the wall and dare them to screw over the working man in favor of the rich fits a pattern that is trying the patience of the far left. Rendition, Gitmo, and secret wire taps remain. Afghanistan war has been escalated (ok he said he would do that on the campaign but still). The fact that we have not seen what Obama is willing to fight for calls into question whether he truly has any ideology at all. It also brings back bad campaign memories of accusations of relationships of convenience with Bill Ayers and Jeremiah Wright.
To borrow Joe Scarborough’s boxing analogy from today’s “Morning Joe”, Obama hit the mat before the end of the first round. Now that doesn’t erase the fact that his political opponents are rank hypocrites who last night agreed to add 800 billion dollars to the federal deficit. We should also take some small comfort that our paychecks will see a bit of a bump in January due to a 2% decrease in FICA tax. But still, it is a bit disheartening to see Hope and Change reduced to “Can’t we all just get along?”
Your New Banker: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
If increasing the deficit weren’t bad enough, I got a jolt to the system while watching MSNBC’s “Countdown” last night (skip to the 10 minute mark in this video). Sitting in for Keith Olbermann, Sam Seder reported a mind blowing fact that I doubt many Americans know. We talk a lot about how much of our debt China owns. But it turns out we spread our debt around pretty nicely. We owe Great Britain, Saudi Arabia and …. get this …. Iran. To make matters worse, how much we owe Iran is basically a state secret. In fact, when we first borrowed money from the Saudis during the Carter administration, the deal was contingent on secrecy.
So my question to the GOP is do you have any shame at all? Are you so willing to keep spending money we don’t have that you will do business under the table with a country that wants to do us harm? I was already fed up with the Republican’s hypocrisy regarding borrowed money but now that I better understand the source of the money, I am totally disgusted and you should be too.